Mary Wyer initiates her discussion on this combustible and ever burning topic with a bang. The discrimination against women, unfortunately done by the male-dominated society is not only an historic fact; it is going on unabated at your left and right currently. Wyer does not mince words when she writes, In the United States, the history of womens participation in science is entangled with debates about womens intellectual capacities and their roles and responsibilities in relation to men and children.
Until the mid-1800s, most women were expressly and specifically excluded from all but basic literacy education, since it was thought that educated women would engage in deviant social and political behavior. It was said that women would refuse to do housework and disobey their husbands if their education was too advanced. (p, 1) If one sticks to this view in this modern materialistic world which reels under the impact of great technological advances, it can be safely concluded that one is walking back instead of moving forward.
Even a cursory glance at the contents of 27 articles contained in V Sections of the book would convince the reader about the abilities of the empowered women! It is not possible to contain this force which is advancing like an avalanche”and why should it be contained at all! According to Wyer, the question is no more representation of women in careers related to the field of biological and social sciences. The question is about under representation. The impact, women scientists are making around the world requires no elaboration.
Right at this moment, a woman astronaut is stationed high above in the sky, engaged in various scientific experiments. The highlight of the book is the variety of subjects covered concerning women. One finds in the book extensive coverage related to feminist science studies, of late an attention demanding and exciting field! Feminism is changing science studies in a peculiar way.
Women are beginning to advance at a much faster rate in reproductive technology, evolutionary biology, sociobiology etc., according to the facts and statistics provided by the various women authors commissioned by Wyer in the book. Are women changing the science? Or is the science changing the status and outlook of the women? The answer to both the questions is in the affirmative. The book has articles from some of the top authors in feminist science studies. Some of the essays are republished and when the collection is handled by Wyer, it acquires a new authenticity. A couple of autobiographical articles demand credence.
Most of the controversial issues related to women are covered in the book. Women are no more afraid of the controversies or creating controversies and find genuine solutions for them. It seems Wyer is advising the women to be ever ready for the life of co-operation or conflicts, as per the circumstances they are placed in. Some of the important contributors are Banu Subamaniaam, Hilary Rose, Harriet Zuckeman, Carol Cohn, Evelyn Fox Keller, Ruth Hubbard, Judy Wajcman, Rachel Maines, Emily Martin, Alison Adam etc.
The Second World War, in particular, had a dramatic impact on employment opportunities for women who had scientific training as the federal governments investment in science grew exponentially. (p,4) One could see he truth of this statement on going through the articles written by women authors, who are intensely related to the world of science. The book has good and authentic research material.